Teachers in Los Angeles Unified have a. ratified provisional agreement with the school district, paving the way for the country’s second largest K-12 system to fully reopen campus for the upcoming academic year.
94 percent of teachers, counselors, librarians, school nurses and other certified employees who voted supported the deal, the union said late Thursday, June 17, after a three-day voting period was completed. According to United Teachers Los Angeles, 12,193 of the more than 30,000 members cast their votes.
The tentative agreement, which the school board is expected to vote on next Tuesday, sets out health and safety protocols at school sites to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission to staff and students. Assuming the board ratifies it, the agreement would go into effect on Wednesday when summer school programs begin.
“With this agreement approved, schools across Los Angeles will have critical COVID safety protocols as we welcome students back to the joys of full-time personal learning,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a statement. “The pandemic has challenged students, families and educators in unimaginable ways, but it has also sparked innovation and taught us lasting lessons about the healing power of public education. Educators strive to meet our students where they are and create the healthy, healing, and just schools that our students and their families deserve. “
Although Superintendent Austin Beutner had said for weeks He expects schools to reopen fully this fall, many families who have spent the past year Encourage all-day personal tuition five days a week were afraid the teachers union would not agree to such a deal.
While it now appears that LAUSD schools are likely to have one more traditional school day In the fall, under the terms of the tentative agreement, the county will continue to adhere to certain health and safety measures that not all parents are happy about.
Many of the terms in the preliminary agreement are similar to those of the district and the union negotiated the reopening of the schools in the spring, as:
- Need for daily screenings for COVID-19 symptoms;
- Proper ventilation;
- Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities; and
- Make sure the sites are stocked with soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels.
However, one of the more controversial points in the proposed agreement would require staff, students and visitors to continue wearing masks on campus, although “alternative protection strategies” can be used to accommodate students with special needs who are having difficulty stopping masks. Either the district or the union could request that this requirement renegotiate after September 1.
At the announcement Last week, when a preliminary agreement was reached, the UTLA announced that the district would continue to test all students and staff on campus for the coronavirus weekly over the summer and that the parties would discuss autumn test plans “based on evolving pandemic conditions.” .
One notable change expected in the fall is that the student desks will be spaced 3 feet apart instead of 6 feet.
The district had agreed to keep Desks 6 feet apart when schools reopened in the spring, but that limited the number of desks that could fit in a classroom. As a result, the students had to take turns appearing on campus and studying online, at least part-time.
The agreement, which UTLA members ratified Thursday, calls for physical distancing “in accordance with the county’s most recent … guidelines” which currently state that desks can be 3 feet apart. Should these guidelines change, both parties can resume negotiations on the matter.
Other terms of the preliminary agreement will be:
- Allow UTLA members with certain health concerns to apply for remote work assignments, including possibly online classes for students enrolled in an independent study program;
- Allow members to stay at their current school location for the coming year without fear of being evicted; and
- Make sure that every effort is made to avoid having elementary teachers teaching “combination classes” with students from two grades in the same class.